National Security / Secrecy
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Mar 15, 2013 Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says
QUOTE: The New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan, drones have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people since 2004 - and that between 18% and 23% of them were not militants....The study concludes that the strikes have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, and traumatized many more innocent people.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 13, 2013 Death to Whistle-Blowers? (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: ...Private Manning still faces trial on the most serious charges, including the potential capital offense of “aiding the enemy” — though the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty in this case, “only” a life sentence. If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.
New York Times Feb 04, 2013 Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
QUOTE: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens
NBC News Jan 29, 2013 Obama Urges Speed on Immigration Plan, but Exposes Conflicts
QUOTE: Seizing an opening to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws, President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday to act swiftly to put 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on a clear path to citizenship. But his push for speedy action and his silence on proposals to defer the opportunity for legal residency until the country’s borders are deemed secure provoked criticism from a Republican leader on the issue.
New York Times Dec 13, 2012 Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans
QUOTE: In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens...Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases...
Wired Nov 11, 2012 Officials Say F.B.I. Knew of Petraeus Affair in the Summer
QUOTE: The new accounts of the events that led to Mr. Petraeus’s sudden resignation on Friday shed light on the competing pressures facing F.B.I. agents who recognized the high stakes of any investigation involving the C.I.A. director but who were wary of exposing a private affair with no criminal or security implications.
New York Times Jul 24, 2012 First they came for Wikileaks, then the New York Times
QUOTE: There are signs that the U.S. government wants to target mainstream journalists and media outlets for the same kind of investigation that WikiLeaks has been subjected to for publishing classified information, which makes it even more important to defend WikiLeaks’ status as a media entity.
GigaOM Feb 10, 2012 The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Read
QUOTE: a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military's top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going.
Rolling Stone Dec 23, 2011 CIA report: No issue with spy agency's partnership with N.Y. police
QUOTE: the agency helped police conduct covert surveillance on Muslims living in New York, raising broader civil liberty questions about the legality of the methods and scope of federal efforts to counter terrorism.
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 25, 2011 Death of U.S. teenager in drone strike stokes debate
QUOTE: 'Proportionality' is at the heart of the argument....is it acceptable in law to carry out an attack against an identified terrorist suspect where others in his immediate vicinity - whose identities are unknown - are likely to be killed or injured?...
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 25, 2011 How the Patriot Act stripped me of my free-speech rights
QUOTE: the government implausibly claimed that if I were able to identify myself as the plaintiff in the case, irreparable damage to national security would result. But I did not believe then, nor do I believe now, that the FBI’s gag order was motivated by legitimate national security concerns. It was motivated by a desire to insulate the FBI from public criticism and oversight.
Washington Post Oct 10, 2011 Secret Orders Target Email: WikiLeaks Backer's Information Sought
QUOTE: The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people's email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Sep 30, 2011 U.S. drone killing of American al-Awlaki prompts legal, moral debate
QUOTE: The U.S. drone killing of American-born and -raised Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has re-energized a national debate over the legal and moral quandaries of a government deliberately killing a citizen.
CNN (Cable News Network) Aug 25, 2011 In Echo of Pancho Villa, Modern Raid Shakes a Town on the Edge of Extinction
QUOTE: Ninety-five years and a day after the infamous Villa raid, another group of armed men crept into Columbus [New Mexico]....They led away in handcuffs Columbus’s mayor, police chief, village trustee and numerous others accused of smuggling guns, ammunition and body armor across the border to Mexican outlaws.
New York Times Jul 14, 2011 U.S.: Catching bin Laden justifies CIA vaccination ruse (The Chart)
QUOTE: A senior U.S. official on Thursday acknowledged CIA involvement in a vaccination campaign in Pakistan, but said it was a legitimate piece of the strategy for catching Osama bin Laden....the aid group Doctors Without Borders issued a statement calling the CIA’s involvement, “a dangerous abuse of medical care.”
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 05, 2011 U.S. to Prosecute a Somali Suspect in Civilian Court
QUOTE: The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would prosecute in civilian court a Somali accused of ties to two Islamist militant groups. The decision to fly the man to New York for trial, after interrogating him for months aboard a United States naval vessel, is likely to reignite debate about the detention and prosecution of terrorism suspects.
New York Times Jun 30, 2011 U.S. Widens Inquiries Into 2 Jail Deaths
QUOTE: The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was opening a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorism suspects in C.I.A. custody overseas, but it was closing inquiries into the treatment of nearly 100 other detainees over the last decade.
New York Times Jun 17, 2011 U.S. Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks
QUOTE: The Justice Department shows no sign of rethinking its campaign to punish unauthorized disclosures to the news media, with five criminal cases so far under President Obama, compared with three under all previous presidents combined....The string of cases reflects a broad belief across two administrations and in both parties in Congress that leaks have gotten out of hand, endangering intelligence agents and exposing American spying methods.
New York Times Jun 15, 2011 Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic
QUOTE: A former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him. Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.
New York Times Jun 13, 2011 Activists cry foul over FBI probe
QUOTE: The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers....The apparent targets, all vocal and visible critics of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America, deny any ties to terrorism. They say the government, using its post-9/11 focus on terrorism as a pretext, is targeting them for their political views.
Washington Post Jun 07, 2011 Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis
QUOTE: The Department of Homeland Security has stepped back for the past two years from conducting its own intelligence and analysis of home-grown extremism...The decision to reduce the department’s role was provoked by conservative criticism of an intelligence report on “Rightwing Extremism” issued four months into the Obama administration, the officials said.
Washington Post Jun 05, 2011 Israeli Soldiers Shoot at Protesters on Syrian Border
QUOTE: Israeli forces fired at pro-Palestinian protesters on the Syrian frontier on Sunday as they tried to breach the border for the second time in three weeks, reflecting a new mode of popular struggle and deadly confrontation....Israeli officials, who say they tried every nonlethal method of crowd control at their disposal before resorting to live fire, worry about being cast as the villain but admit they are in a bind.
New York Times May 25, 2011 How Can Congress Debate a Secret Law?
QUOTE: Legal scholars, law professors, advocacy groups, and the Congressional Research Service have all written interpretations of the Patriot Act and Americans can read any of these interpretations and decide whether they support or agree with them. But by far the most important interpretation of what the law means is the official interpretation used by the U.S. government and this interpretation is - stunningly -classified.
Huffington Post Apr 24, 2011 Judging Detainees’ Risk, Often With Flawed Evidence
QUOTE: The documents reveal that the analysts sometimes ignored serious flaws in the evidence… They include detainees’ admissions without acknowledging other government documents that show the statements were later withdrawn, often attributed to abusive treatment or torture.
New York Times Mar 10, 2011 Congressman Defends Hearing on Radical Islam
QUOTE: Many Muslims fear they will be made targets, while religious and civil rights leaders are protesting what they see as ethnic profiling and the singling out of a particular minority... (counterterrorism officials) are concerned that the sessions will have the opposite of their intended effect, by making Muslims, who may already be nervous about talking to the authorities, even more nervous about doing so.
New York Times Feb 25, 2011 Huawei Calls on U.S. to Investigate Accusations
QUOTE: ...Huawei complained that its push into the United States had been undermined by false allegations and mistaken suspicions that the company had close ties with the Chinese government and the military and that the privately owned company did not respect intellectual property rights.
New York Times Feb 10, 2011 Ex-C.I.A. Agent Goes Public With Story of Mistreatment on the Job
QUOTE: He contends that the events broke up his marriage and destroyed his career, and that C.I.A. officials abused the State Secrets Privilege doctrine in an effort to cover up their own negligence.
New York Times Jan 18, 2011 In Knotty State Secrets Case, Justices Ponder Telling Litigants to ‘Go Away’
QUOTE: The contractors sued, asking to keep the money and seeking $1.2 billion more. They said their work had been frustrated by the government’s failure to share classified technology. The government disputed that, but would not explain why, invoking the state secrets privilege.
New York Times Jan 15, 2011 Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay
QUOTE: [experts say that Israel at its Dimona facility] tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.... Mr. Langner is among the experts who expressed fear that the attack had legitimized a new form of industrial warfare, one to which the United States is also highly vulnerable.
New York Times Jan 09, 2011 Twitter Shines a Spotlight on Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas
QUOTE: THE news that federal prosecutors have demanded that the microblogging site Twitter provide the account details of people connected to the WikiLeaks case, including its founder, Julian Assange, isn’t noteworthy because the government’s request was unusual or intrusive. It is noteworthy because it became public.... the government — in the course of conducting inquiries — has been able to look through much of the information without the knowledge of the people being investigated.
New York Times Jan 03, 2011 A Clear Danger to Free Speech
QUOTE: THE so-called Shield bill, which was recently introduced in both houses of Congress in response to the WikiLeaks disclosures, would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to make it a crime for any person knowingly and willfully to disseminate, “in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States,” any classified information “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States.” Although this proposed law may be constitutional as applied to government employees who unlawfully leak such material to people who are unauthorized to receive it, it would plainly violate the First Amendment to punish anyone who might publish or otherwise circulate the information after it has been leaked.
New York Times Dec 20, 2010 Monitoring America (Top Secret America)
QUOTE: Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Washington Post Nov 29, 2010 In U.S. Sting Operations, Questions of Entrapment
QUOTE: The arrest on Friday of a Somali-born teenager who is accused of trying to detonate a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., has again thrown a spotlight on the government’s use of sting operations to capture terrorism suspects. Some defense lawyers and civil rights advocates said the government’s tactics, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, have raised questions about the possible entrapment of people who pose no real danger but are enticed into pretend plots at the government’s urging.
New York Times Oct 26, 2010 Hands-on airport searches: National rollout of invasive pat-downs this week
QUOTE: Airline passengers nationwide will be subjected to new aggressive and controversial body searches likened to “foreplay” pat-downs under the expansion of a program tested at Logan International Airport.
Boston Herald Jun 18, 2010 Justice Dept. Will Fight Arizona on Immigration
QUOTE: The Obama administration has decided to file a lawsuit to strike down a new Arizona law aimed at deporting illegal immigrants, thrusting itself into the fierce national debate over how the United States should enforce immigration policies.
New York Times Jun 10, 2010 Judge limits DHS laptop border searches
QUOTE: A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler's laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later.
CNET Jun 02, 2010 New Israeli Tack Needed on Gaza, U.S. Officials Say
QUOTE: The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area....Since the botched raid that killed nine activists on Monday, the Israeli government has said that the blockade was necessary to protect Israel against the infiltration into Gaza of weapons and fighters sponsored by Iran.
New York Times May 15, 2010 U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
QUOTE: Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to American officials and businessmen, despite concerns among some in the military about the legality of the operation.
New York Times May 13, 2010 U.S. Decision to Approve Killing of Cleric Causes Unease
QUOTE: The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism. The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy.
New York Times Apr 27, 2010 China Moves to Tighten Data Controls
QUOTE: China is on the verge of requiring telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to halt and report leaks of what the government deems to be state secrets, the latest in a series of moves intended to strengthen the government’s control over private communications.
New York Times Apr 03, 2010 Cautious praise for travel screening change
QUOTE: Lawmakers, civil liberties groups and security experts cautiously praised the Obama administration's decision to abandon using nationality alone as a basis for deciding which U.S.-bound international air travelers to subject to additional screening, but they warned that too little is known to conclude that the revised policy will be effective and not discriminatory.
Washington Post Mar 31, 2010 Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal
QUOTE: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.
New York Times Feb 27, 2010 Inquiry sought into disappearance of e-mails in interrogations case
QUOTE: Senior Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate the disappearance of e-mail messages written by Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos blessing harsh interrogation tactics, saying their absence cast doubt on an ethics report that cleared the lawyers of professional misconduct.
Washington Post Dec 10, 2009 Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids
QUOTE: Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials.
New York Times Nov 05, 2009 Who's in Big Brother's Database?
QUOTE: these new centers in Utah, Texas, and possibly elsewhere will likely become the centralized repositories for the data intercepted by the NSA in America's version of the "big brother database" rejected by the British.
New York Review of Books (NYRB) Oct 19, 2009 Exclusive: U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets (Danger Room)
QUOTE: In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available...
Wired Oct 19, 2009 Government Can Supress Torture Evidence...If It Wants
QUOTE: President Obama's May decision to declassify Bush-era legal memos does not require the government to give up more information on techniques revealed by those opinions, a judge ruled last week.
Atlantic Online, The (Atlantic Monthly) Oct 16, 2009 C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery
QUOTE: For six years, the agency [the C.I.A] has fought in federal court to keep secret hundreds of documents from 1963, when an anti-Castro Cuban group it paid clashed publicly with the soon-to-be assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
New York Times Oct 07, 2009 UAE: Government to create DNA database of all residents, starting with children (Babylon & Beyond)
QUOTE: Within a year, the United Arab Emirates will become the first country to begin building a national DNA database of all residents...
Los Angeles Times Oct 05, 2009 New York to fight terrorism with more street-corner cameras: Mayor Bloomberg moves to expand high-tech surveillance to midtown Manhattan. But civil liberties groups are concerned, and some security experts question its value.
QUOTE: On the heels of breaking up an alleged bomb terror plot, New York is planning to place high-tech security cameras, license plate readers, and "weapons sensors" in midtown Manhattan.... But some terrorism experts have questioned whether a camera network will deter terrorists. They also say that sensors are known to give off "false positives."
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